“Third Stream” and beyond: my current research interests

I currently have two major research streams in music that I hope will converge for my M.A. thesis project: 1) “third stream” music, which is essentially a blend of classical music and jazz 2) improvisation and indeterminacy in concert music, specially that of medium to large ensembles

My own final project will be an extensive ‘Jazz Concerto’ for alto saxophone and a to-be-determined chamber ensemble.  Additionally, I’ll write a paper contextualizing my composition, featuring research into the two above mentioned concepts.

At least that’s where things sit right now.  My ideas may shift or re-focus during my course.

Coming into the program, I had planned to focus on #2 but have recently become interested (actually, re-interested) in music that might be called “third stream” – a term coined in the late ’50s by Gunther Schuller, an American composer and conductor.

While looking into Schuller’s music, I’ve discovered the music of William Russo.  I’ve become especially enamored with a couple of his works, including Music for Alto Saxophone and Strings and An Image of Man.

I think the first of these in particular will give anyone a good idea of the type of music that I’m talking about and actually the type of music, broadly speaking, that I intend to write.  I very much like that Music for Alto Saxophone and Strings combines a ‘classical’ set-up of strings with what amounts to a jazz rhythm section of guitar, bass and drums.

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